18 August 2013 @ 07:41 am
Prompt #095: Water  
Title: Opening His Eyes Underwater
Pairing/Characters: Brian/Tommy
Rating (Word Count): PG-13 (17 X 100)
Warning(s): D/s
Author's notes: Many thanks to @leela_cat for the beta.

This continues from Burning From the Inside Out. You can also read the whole thing on AO3.

The conversation with Adam stays on Tommy’s mind for the rest of the night. He knows he’ll have a hard time holding himself to his words, but if he wants things to work with Brian, he has to.

He waits for two more days, until they’re back home and comfortable and it’s just the two of them again.

Every time he tries to say anything, the words seem to stick in his throat, until the very end of the evening.

They’re relaxing on the couch with soft music playing in the background when Brian asks, “Are you ready for bed?”


It’s voiced like a question.

When they spend the night together, it’s one of the ways they found to work around Tommy’s insomnia and his night bird’s habits. Unless Brian has plans, in which case delaying bedtime isn’t an option. Otherwise, if Tommy knows he won’t be able to fall asleep yet, he can say so.

“I’m not sleepy.”

Brian gentle fingers under Tommy’s chin make him tilt his head. “I want you in bed by one.”

Checking his phone, Tommy realizes that leaves him a little less than an hour to try and relax. It’s more than enough time.


“Yes, Brian. I will be.”

The hint of formality has Brian arching an eyebrow at him in surprise but he doesn’t comment. Tommy’s glad for it, and at the same time, it reminds him, once again, that they really need to talk.

So when Brian gently pushes him away to head to bed, Tommy takes a deep breath and says, “Wait. Can we talk?”

Brian stops mid-move and rests his arm over the back of the couch, turning to face Tommy. “Sure.”

Since Tommy has no idea how to start, he goes with, “You don’t look surprised.”

“Because I’m not.”


Brian shrugs. “I was wondering what was taking you so long after the soundcheck in San Diego, so I went back and saw you talking with Adam. I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m not surprised, either.”

Tommy releases a breath he had no idea he was holding. “So you already know.”

Brian shakes his head, looking a little hurt. “I said I saw you. I didn’t stay to listen. It was none of my business unless you decided it should be.”

Tommy crosses his arms, curling in on himself. “Wasn’t it tempting? With everything going on between Adam and me…”


“If you’re looking for a fight, you won’t get one.” Brian sighs. “No, it wasn’t tempting. You know what I’d have a problem with and why. I’m not going to tell you who you can be friends with, or how.”

Tommy doesn’t answer. He doesn’t want a fight, not really, but the only other option is to try and make sense of the mess in his head and put it into words. He has no idea if he’s ready for that.

“Are you going to tell me what you two talked about for it to fuck with you like that?”


The little space between them feels too wide. Without leaving himself time to think, Tommy inches nearer and fits himself to Brian’s side, tangling their legs together. He starts breathing freely again when Brian pulls him closer with an arm against his lower back.

“It has nothing to do with that. My head was already a mess before I talked to him.” Tommy offers a shaky smile. “He said that it’s not him I should be talking to. And he was right.”

“He’s good at pulling people’s heads out of their asses,” Brian agrees. Then he falls silent and waits.


When it becomes obvious that Tommy won’t say a thing without a little encouragement, Brian says, “Take all the time you need, Tommy. But I can’t understand what’s going on in here,” he presses a finger to Tommy’s forehead, “unless you tell me.”

“I’m not even sure it makes sense.”

“Just say it the way it comes to you.”

Realizing that he’s just making up excuses and trying to delay the damn conversation, Tommy sighs.

“It’s just…” He bites his lips as he tries to find the right words. “The rules, the expectations, everything…”

“Is it too much for you?”


Tommy shakes his head, fast. If that was the problem, it would be so much easier to explain.

How can he say that it might be the other way around? That even though it scares him shitless, the tighter Brian’s hold on him gets, the safer and more comfortable it feels.

And even that wouldn’t even begin to cover the reasons why Tommy feels like the ground is slipping from under his feet.

“It’s isn’t,” he finally says. “But it’s a lot to take in. Some things are crystal clear but others… It’s like trying to open my eyes underwater.”


“Why is that?”

Tommy tenses. Having to put everything into words is so fucking hard. But he knows that if wants them to understand each other, he doesn’t have a choice.

Yet finding the right words seems impossible. He says it the same way he did with Adam. “It feels like I’m falling, and there’s no one to catch me.” Once he’s started, the dam breaks and there’s no holding back the words anymore. “Like… It scares me how much I need you sometimes. And then I think that I’m not good enough for you, that I can never be.”


Tommy stares at his hands. There are things he can never figure out until he puts them into words, but once he has, what he just said seems to cling to the air around him, to his skin, tighter and tighter until he can’t breathe.

“Look at me, Tommy Joe.” There’s a hard edge to Brian’s words, just enough to turn them into a command.

Yet Tommy has to make an effort to raise his head again.

Brian waits until Tommy’s full attention is on him. “Okay. First thing, I want you, not anybody else. You have to remember that.”


“But I’m not…” Tommy waves a hand around as he tries and fails to say what he means. “I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.”

“Then let me help you along the way.” Brian trails gentle fingers down the side of Tommy’s face. “I know you’re new at everything. It doesn’t matter to me. I fell for you before I even had a hint that this was a possibility. I won’t lie and say I’m unhappy that things turned out this way, but it was never the reason I wanted this to be more than just a tour thing.”


Tommy smiles, the knot in his chest easing by the tiniest fraction. But the damn feeling of unease hasn’t gone away. “I still don’t know if I can be good enough.”

“You mean for me?” Brian asks, waiting until Tommy nods before he continues, “Yes, it’s not even a question.” He shakes his head at Tommy’s dubious look. “I’m not clueless, baby. No matter how much I want things to work between us, if we started this and there’d been no hope of each of us being what the other needs, I wouldn’t have pursued it. Do you believe me?”


“Yeah. I believe you.”

Brian’s smile warms Tommy all over. He presses closer, resting his head on Brian’s chest and letting himself drift in the caresses of Brian’s hands.

It feels like he could stay here forever, mellow and content. Like he could fall asleep, here and now, without any effort.

Instead, Brian asks, “There’s something else bugging you, isn’t there?”

Tommy nearly wishes Brian would let it go. But he’s aware that they need to go through this, and he doesn’t know if he’ll find the strength to ask again. So he says, “Yeah. You’re right.”

“What is it?”


“You know when you cornered me the other night? In Orlando?”

Brian nods. “What about it?”

“We didn’t have much time, so I took the easy way out when you asked what was wrong.” Tommy pulls back so he can look Brian in the eyes. “It wasn’t the first time I did that. And you let me. Each and every single time.” He tries not to make it sound like an accusation but from the look on Brian’s face, he doubts he’s being successful.

“Easing you into things seemed like the right way to go. Apparently I was wrong, though.”


“Not wrong, but…” Tommy sighs. If only things could be easier to explain. “There’s taking it easy, and then there’s giving me too much leeway.”

“And it’s easy to see what you think I’ve been doing.” Brian presses a finger to Tommy’s lips before he can interrupt. “You’re right. I thought I was doing the right thing and instead I messed up. I’m sorry.”

The sincere apology leaves Tommy speechless, making him forget everything he meant to say.

“That’s what you meant earlier, right? When you said that it feels like you’re falling and there’s no one to catch you?”


Tommy has to think about it before he says, “Part of it is just me and my stupid insecurities, but… yeah. I have a feeling that it could be as easy as making music together, but it’s not and I have no fucking idea why.”

“Because we haven’t let it,” Brian says, so soft Tommy has to strain to hear him. “Because I was still holding back and that left you without any hope of finding your footing.”

“But it could be.” That’s the only thing that matters.

“It could be. As long as we’re willing to let it happen.”


Silence surrounds them, comfortable and full of hope.

“So what do we do now?” Tommy asks.

“We have two weeks before the next show. That’s more than enough time for me to help you find your ground. We’ll still be taking things one at a time, but no more holding back. From you, or me. Sound good?”

Tommy lets Brian pull him closer. “Yeah. It sounds great.”

Knowing that until now, Brian was holding back makes Tommy’s mouth go dry. But the feeling that they’re in this together is exactly what he needed to quiet the mess of his thoughts.
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wynkat: Tommy and Brian[personal profile] wynkat on August 18th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
"trying to see underwater" thats a great description and feels so right for what T is going through.

I'm really enjoying the evolution of this.
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arianne_maya[personal profile] arianne_maya on August 19th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
It feels right and I needed a way to tie this to the prompt. Glad it's working that well.
Thank you!
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